Even though a functional brake system is critical to the overall safety of a vehicle, its driver and other motorists, the health of individual components is all too often overlooked. During the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week 2023, commercial motor vehicle inspectors emphasize the importance of brake systems by conducting inspections of commercial motor vehicle brake system components.
From August 20th to 26th, commercial vehicle inspectors will be on the lookout for issues with brake pads and brake linings. If these components are damaged or otherwise ineffective, the vehicle will be removed from the road until reports are made. Unfortunately, in some states, this can result in a violation that may impact your business’ safety score.
Luckily, many brake-related issues can be identified and corrected with minimal effort. Share these tips with your team to help pass this year’s brake safety week inspections with flying colors.
9 Tips to Keep in Mind During CVSA Brake Safety Week
1. Conduct Thorough Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections
Many brake issues can be identified with a quick glance. To detect potential issues early, incorporate a comprehensive inspection of visible portions of brake linings and pads into your pre- and post-trip routines.
2. Look for Missing Lining Signs
Examine the drum’s surface for grooves resulting from rivet contact. These grooves might indicate missing lining material, which is a clear indicator of potential brake problems. Additionally, ensure that all lining blocks are present – missing blocks can impact the balance and effectiveness of the braking system, potentially leading to uneven braking and reduced control.
3. Maintain Adequate Shoe-to-Drum Clearance
Make sure there’s enough lining on the shoe, ensuring proper shoe-to-drum clearance. This is vital for effective braking performance, as insufficient lining can compromise the vehicle’s ability to stop efficiently.
4. Look for Cracks or Voids
Examine the lining blocks for visible cracks or voids. If it looks like it needs to be replaced, it probably does. These defects could compromise the structural integrity of the brake components, rendering them less effective or even unsafe.
5. Secure Rivets and Blocks
Pay attention to any exposed rivets or loose lining blocks on the shoe. Loose components can interfere with the braking mechanism and reduce the overall braking efficiency.
6. Be Wary of Leaks
Check for signs of leaks from the hub or other components, as these leaks could contaminate the brake lining or pad surface. Address any leaks promptly to prevent potential safety hazards.
7. Special Attention to Disc Brakes
For vehicles equipped with disc brakes, closely inspect the condition of the rotor. Heavily rusted rotors or metal-to-metal contact can significantly impair braking performance and compromise safety.
8. Revisit Manufacturer Guidelines
When making brake system repairs, double-check that all repairs are in line with the brake manufacturer’s requirements and guidelines. This guarantees that any repairs conducted are not only impactful, but compliant with industry standards.
9. Document and Communicate Issues
Finally, maintain meticulous records of your inspections and promptly report any issues to your motor carrier. If you encounter defective linings or pads, it’s crucial to notify your carrier to facilitate timely repairs and ensure the continued safety of your vehicle.
The Importance of Ongoing Fleet Vehicle Maintenance
Your attention to detail shouldn’t end when brake safety week does. To ensure your fleet vehicles are safe, high-performing and long-lasting, routine maintenance is non-negotiable. Not sure what to look for? In our free fleet maintenance checklist, we outline the proactive steps you should take on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Click the link below to download now.